Petition disputing Powi’s win dismissed

The National Court today dismissed Joseph Kobol’s petition, disputing William Powi’s declaration of 27 September 2017 as the Southern Highlands Governor.

This seat was the first to go to the polls and the last to have its writ returned after a declaration was made in Port Moresby “under special circumstances”.

The Southern Highlands regional seat saw three months of prolonged counting to rejected declaration results, changes in appointments of returning officers and eventually a declaration in Port Moresby on the evening of 27 September 2017, without the alleged completion of the scrutiny process. 

It was the first such election declaration made under section 175 of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections or “special circumstances”, where William Powi was declared without alleged completion of the elimination process. No candidate reached absolute majority before his declaration.  

A case of “premature declaration” under “special circumstances,” Joseph Kobol, one of the two petitioners in this seat filed the petition, asking the court to void Powi’s declaration and allow the scrutiny process to be completed with the candidate who gains absolute majority to be declared. 

Two objection motions were filed by Powi and the Electoral Commission challenging the competency of Kobol’s petition.

At the ruling today, the National Court dismissed the petition because Kobol’s reliefs sought were not under section 212 of the Organic Law.

Without relying on specific provisions of the reliefs he was asking for in the petition, Kobol failed to comply with requirements of section 208 s(b) of the Organic Law.

 Meanwhile, chaos has broken out in Mendi town, with reports of the Mendi airport currently under siege with an Air Nuigini Dash 8 plane being burned down.

Reports are also coming in of reports of a fire at a property owned by William Powi.

(See separate report into Medi situation)


Sally Pokiton